Lawmakers OK penalties for loitering gang members

Lawmakers OK penalties for loitering gang members

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Lawmakers have approved a bill to give communities the ability to designate gang-free zones and force anyone suspected of being a gang member to leave the areas.

Under Senate Bill 16, loitering gang members could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for refusing to leave a gang-free zone. If any gang member returned to that zone within eight hours of being told by police to leave, they could also be issued a $100 fine.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Jon Greiner, R-Ogden, was approved in the House 56-to-17 on Thursday, despite concerns that the bill would be used for racial profiling.

Gov. Jon Huntsman will now decide whether to sign the bill into law.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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